Organizations, coalitions, academia, and specialists support victims of toxic contamination in La Oroya
Photo: Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CC BY-SA 2.0).
You are here
Home » Press Center » Organizations, coalitions, academia, and specialists support victims of toxic contamination in La Oroya
17 November 2022
Experts filed 15 amicus briefs before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights upholding the central argument of the case: that the government of Peru is responsible for violating the human rights of residents of La Oroya for the lack of urgent and effective actions to address pollution from a metal smelter, and its harmful effects.
San José, Costa Rica. Organizations, coalitions, academia, and specialists presented 15 legal briefs (Amicus curiae) before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to support the case of residents of La Oroya against the government of Peru, for human rights resulting from a metal plant spewing toxic pollution into the Andean city for nearly 90 years.
The briefs contain solid evidence that support the central argument of the case: that the Peruvian government—by not taking urgent and effective action to address the pollutions and its effects—is responsible for the violation of the rights to life, health, personal integrity, childhood, and a healthy environment of the residents of La Oroya.
This argument as expressed in a public audience on October 12 and 13, when the international court heard from witnesses, experts, victims, and government representatives.
The briefs, sent to the Court between October 11 and 28, demonstrate that the importance of the case surpasses the Peruvian context and represents a historic opportunity to establish a key precedent in Latin America, and the world, that strengthens the right to a healthy environment and government’s role supervising business activities.
One of the briefs was presented by the University Network for Human Rights in partnership with a panel of experts: five former authorities from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Tracy Robinson, James Cavallaro, Paulo de Tarso Vannuchi, Flávia Piovesan and Paulo Abrão) and three former Special Rapporteurs to the United Nations (John Knox, James Anaya, and Juan Méndez).
Briefs were presented by Peruvian organizations— including the Technical Committee for Environmental and Human Health and the Civil Society Platform on Business and Human Rights—as well as from other countries in Latin America—the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (Mexico), Defensoria Ambiental (Chile), and Justice for Nature (Costa Rica)—and international organizations such as Earthjustice and The Center for Justice and Environmental Law.
Furthering the international scope of the hearing, The Working Group for Strategic Litigation of Red-DESC and the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights.
From the academic sector, support came from the Human Rights Research and Education Center of the University of Ottawa (Canada), the Clinic for Human Rights of the Postgraduate Law School of the Pontificia Catholic University of Paraná (Brazil), and the Legal Clinic of Environmental and Public Health of the University of the Andes (Colombia).
Other writings were presented by experts on the issues that the case addresses: David R. Boyd, Special Rapporteur to the UN on human rights and the environment, medical anthropologist Susana Ramírez, and attorneys Carla Luzuriaga-Salinas, Macarena Martinic Cristensen, and Ezio Costa Cordella.
Following the hearing and the briefs, the next step in the legal process is to present written closing arguments a potential visit to La Oroya by the judges from the Court. The sentence, which cannot be appealed, is expected within six months.